Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Miller) to the Secretary of State



Participation of the Secretary in ceremony of exchange of notes with Dominican Ambassador recognizing termination of Financial Convention of 1940.1
Comment by Secretary on negotiations with Dominican Republic for military bases.


1. Agreement has been reached on the text of an exchange of notes recognizing the termination of the Financial Convention of 1940. The Dominican Ambassador has requested that you sign the United States note at a brief ceremony at your office. For the Dominicans this event [Page 1375] will be of historic importance since it will constitute United States recognition of their complete financial independence.

The Dominican Republic came under United States military administration in 1916. At this time its customs had been under United States management for eleven years. In 1924 the United States Marines were withdrawn but American control of Dominican customs continued until 1940. In that year the Financial Convention was signed, returning financial controls to the Dominican Government, but pledging that Government to make certain bond and interest payments.

On July 4, 1951 the Dominican Government paid the last outstanding private claim. Except for a small balance on its Export-Import Bank loan which is being paid off regularly, the Dominican Government has now extinguished all foreign debts. Considering the past history of Santo Domingo, this accomplishment represents a genuine achievement.

2. On request of the United States Air Force, negotiations are under way with the Dominican Government for the use of certain areas and facilities in Dominican territory in connection with a Long Range Proving Ground for experiments with guided missiles. These negotiations were apparently proceeding smoothly until the Dominican Government recently decided to submit a counter draft. This counter draft proposes several substantive changes, some of which are unacceptable to the Army.

Ambassador Ackerman reports from Ciudad Trujillo that some of the Dominican proposals are motivated by an impression that the Proving Ground, while of vital importance in Dominican minds, is viewed in the United States as a routine military matter of small importance to the Department of State. Ambassador Thomen is reportedly the one who conveyed this impression to President Trujillo.


1. That you participate in the ceremony to be scheduled at your earliest convenience.2

2. I believe that during the ceremony an informal statement by you to the Ambassador that the Department is greatly interested in the early conclusion of these negotiations in view of the importance of the Long Range Proving Ground to hemisphere defense would have a salutary effect.

  1. For text of the Financial Convention and accompanying exchanges of notes signed by the United States and the Dominican Republic at Washington, September 24, 1940, see Department of State Treaty Series (TS) No. 965, or 55 Stat. (pt.2) 1104.
  2. On August 9, 1951, Secretary Acheson and Ambassador Thomen signed an exchange of notes at Washington whereby the United States and the Dominican Republic recognized the termination of the Financial Convention the two countries had signed in 1940. For text of the notes, see TIAS No. 2365. For a press release dated August 9, see the Department of State Bulletin, August 20, 1951, p. 299.